Wakeford’s defection to Labour ‘helped’ Boris Johnson, says Portillo

GB News: Portillo slams Wakeford as he insists they hold a by-election

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Former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Michael Portillo sat down with Mercy Muroki and Patrick Christys on GB News to discuss the latest decision from MP Christian Wakeford to defect from the Conservative party to Labour. Mr Portillo explained that Mr Wakeford will have “quite an unhappy life” as colleagues and previous voters put him under fire for his decision. With some of Mr Wakeford’s past voters calling for a by-election the Former Secretary slammed the idea.

Ms Muroki said: “Let’s start off with that defection, that defection yesterday.

“What does it mean? Was it significant at all? Or is he just trying to prove a point?”

Mr Portillo said: “Well I think it’s significant because I think it has helped Boris Johnson.

“I mean there’s nothing that most Members of Parliament detest more than a defection.”

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Mr Portillo added: “I was listening to the radio this morning and there were two people who defected from the Conservative party.

“I don’t know 20 and 30 years ago and I switched off.

“Because that’s how strongly I feel about it after all these years.

“I mean, Christian Wakeford is going to have quite an unhappy life I’m afraid.

“Because you know, his old colleagues will give him absolutely the cold shoulder and he’s going to find it very for instance working with the constituency party South of the Labour party which has spent all this time opposing him.”

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Ms Muroki added: “See I’m in two minds about it, on one hand, you know my initial reaction is, does the man have no shame I mean it’s quite shameless I think, to be honest.

“To defect to your opponents so dramatically, I won’t take him seriously I don’t think ever again.

“But on the other hand if somebody no longer supports their Government, then is it morally right actually that maybe they go and publically say I don’t support you anymore I’m moving on to somebody else.” 

Mr Portillo said: “I think the weakness in his position is that it’s so recent since he was elected for the first time.

Mr Portillo added: “That he’s been consistently voting with the Government on quite contentious issues on which the Labour party has had a very strongly opposed position.

“So it’s really quite difficult I think for him to argue that he’s been moving towards the Labour parties positions.

“Everyone can understand that he’s got fed up with Boris Johnson, lot’s of Members of Parliament have, but what he’s done is something very different.

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“And I think he will find it difficult to justify, I don’t think you’ve actually asked me whether I think there should be a by-election.”

Mr Christys said: “Should there be a by-election?”

Mr Portillo added: “I think ethically there should be a by-election, there rarely is, I think it will be an interesting risk for Labour to take because I think they probably would win the by-election.

“Probably quite handsomely but it would be very painful within Bury South itself, can you imagine all those Labour party workers going out and knocking on doors for the person that they detested until yesterday morning.”

Other Tory MPs in Parliament could be heard loudly booing Christian Wakeford as they did not agree with his choice to switch to the opposition party.

Mr Wakeford announced the move to Labour in the Bury Times, Mr Wakeford also sent a letter to the Prime Minister ahead of PMQs.

In a statement, Mr Wakeford said: “I care passionately about the people of Bury South and I have concluded that the policies of the Conservative Government that you lead are doing nothing to help the people of my constituency and indeed are only making the struggles they face on a daily basis worse.

“Britain needs a Government focused on tackling the cost of living crisis and providing a path out of the pandemic that protects living standards and defends the security of all.

“It needs a Government that upholds the highest standards of integrity and probity in public life and sadly both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and Government this country deserves.”

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